28 December 2008

yzma, catwoman, eartha

Eartha Kitt had been always my favourite gal. She was one of those who defied conventions. Also, talent oozed from her. Remember the Batman on TV we used to watch? Catwoman was Eartha Kitt. Years later, she was Yzma (her voice), the villainess in The Emperor's New Groove. I laughed at this:

Yzma: Tell us where the talking llama is and we'll burn your house to the ground.
Kronk: Don't you mean "or"?
Yzma: [sighs] Tell us where the talking llama is *or* we'll burn your house to the ground.
Chaca: Well, which one is it? That seems like a pretty crucial conjunction.

I agreed with this review of her: "Yzma was Eartha Kitt and Eartha Kitt was Yzma".

She died last Christmas Day and I am going to miss that "voice", sultry, wicked and witchy.

15 December 2008

bag lady and stilletos

Writing about stilletos surely would bring out a google ad on Sex and the City...and the Sarah Jessica Parker bag lady comment. She, as Carrie Bradshaw said "I will literally be the old woman who lived in her shoes!"

photo by: flickr

14 December 2008

one stilleto at a time

This is reality stuff - women earn less than men over their lifetimes and live longer. They are more likely to spend their golden years in poverty. Take a glance around and you know what I mean. Of course, we don't see bag ladies (homeless women who carry their belongings in shopping bags) in Brunei but we see some reduction in quality of life when a woman is widowed or divorced. It is a lesson to learn.

Women need to learn as early as possible that real life has no prince valiants to save them from poverty. Women should know the basics: spend less than you earn; pay yourself first. Know the virtues of an emergency fund; don't be debt-ridden; use your credit cards responsibly; have a moratorium on clothes-buying now and then and of course, as they say, "one stilleto at a time". Then, perhaps we will never worry about being bag ladies.

photo by: flickr

12 December 2008

have i told you

Sing this at your own risk :-)

10 December 2008

This is the scene at Bukit Bintang...drums and cymbals play in tune with the shoppers' gaits.

04 December 2008

crossroads 2

In response to queries about why I painted my blog red - It is all so conscious, because red just reminds me of Christmas just as green signifies Hari Raya. It is not a subconscious signalling for a present (a red lipstick? no..no), a need for passion, nor does it mean anger or a flag for a sort of warning. Maybe, it was a desire for some colour in my otherwise wifey/mummy/grandmummy existence...

Then, today, I had a haircut - the sort that is drastic and naughty and nice. Sort of Conia-ish. And Meeza says, "you look great". Maybe, I don't need to see red anymore - and uhm...be at peace with the world again.

28 November 2008

say cheese

Christmas like Hari Raya has symbols that announce its coming. One of them is the Queso De Bola.

photo by flickr

22 November 2008


My predilection for chocolates dated back when I was a pre-schooler who understood the sins that go with it. One instance, upon waking up, I could feel the gooey lumps of unrecognizable Kisses that have tangled with my hair. Invariably, I ate chocolates even in my sleep.

Years later, friends in the States generously sent us Mary Sees chocolates together with Guccis and L'air Du Temps and silver trays from Macy's. Then, in Mecca and Medina we held our breaths when the scrumptious Patchis were weighed at the scales. At Harrod's we lingered on and on at the Chocolate Room and promised to hoard the bought goodies at home.

It's no wonder that my no-longer-secret of a wishlist include one of the most expensive chocolates in the world. These are the "G" chocolates from Godiva and cost 120 Pounds per lb. Like the other items in my wishlist, this is virtually a wish that remains a wish..lol.

20 November 2008


SMS sent back and forth today -

Hubby: I got hole in 1 at hole no 2
Me : Wow
Hubby: Tq n love u 2
Me : Wow
Hubby: Tq again n love u more

19 November 2008

khawuleza mama

Sure, we know Hakuna Matata and can even sing it. Hakuna Matata is something African and lovely and inspiring.

Recently, we heard about the death of Miriam Makeba. She was an African woman who sang out the ugliness of apartheid. Why was it that we did not know her? As people basked in the Obama story and after reading "Dreams From My Father", anything African is an eye-opener for me. It is never too late to discover Miriam Makeba and see right through her soul.

06 November 2008

we love America again!

American politics took a grip on us again. We are a lot happier now, though. In 2000 we asked Why? when Gore lost. It was so agonizing, that we totally ignored the TV in 2004.

01 November 2008


Those days before the onset of lactose intolerance and when ice-cream was not a once-in-a-while treat but childhood staple were the most memorable. The sorbetero was a welcome sight. Our mothers called it the dirty ice-cream. Thanks to flickr, one can easily indulge in nostalgia.

photo by flickr

28 October 2008


These are pictures of my dream house, a multi-storey Asian-inspired adobe. The article which featured this house says that it is within a cul-de-sac park. I don't know what it means, but, it sure sounds lovely being in a cul-de-sac of a park. If by luck, I had a chance to have a second home, I'd love to live on this one. It's a charmer!

27 October 2008


They call it the crossroad or the transitional phase in any marriage when sparring becomes a habit; sensitivities are more pronounced; hunger is phenomenal but then you are no longer eating salt and sugar. Well..oh..well, at least, the both of you are still alive and savouring and living life...never fearful of the turns and the narrowest of alleys.

photo by deviantArt

26 October 2008

capping greed

The current world financial crisis has been blamed on greed, specifically consumer's greed - nothing is just enough for us - we have not restrained ourselves from giving into immediate gratification - we never knew the difference between wants and needs. And as a result, we have accumulated debts significantly than in any other period of man's history.

For us here in Brunei, it may not be very late. However, we must get rid of all the complacencies that have hounded us. Credit has been misused - every working person must admit this. Many of us are still in debt.

The days of easy credit as we all know are gone now - thanks to some regulatory measures set up by the government. We may have been spared of this crisis, the magnitude of which seems to be overwhelming the rest of the world.

We were always told to save for the rainy days - those days have arrived - and will not leave us for some time.

photo by flickr

13 October 2008

peace of mind

I have always watched American politics and I can say I won't get lost in its web of complexities. I am a believer in the premise that what is good for the USA is good for the rest of us...don't accuse me of colonial mentality. I am just being realistic. And so...I dread a McCain-Palin win not because I really am agog over Obama but, because I am nervous about McCain's longevity. In case, McCain wins, we then will have to wish him good health and a longer life because Palin, the non-reader of newspapers, as the Commander-in-Chief and CEO is well...nerve-wracking considering the ugly heads that are rearing out, I mean, the Russian misadventures, the Afghanistan-Iraq tragedy, the financial tumults, etc. Save yourselves. Stop living dangerously. Don't be enamoured by the folksy winking and 'hey Joe' attitude. Dear Americans, please vote wisely and have peace of mind.

07 September 2008

winner takes it all

No matter what the reviews are for 'Mamma Mia", it was a movie worth stomping your feet for. Meryl Streep as Donna Sheridan,as always, is the magnificent one, she can sing and belt it out too! Don't forget she sang at "Postcards from the Edge". As for Pierce Brosnan, he as the quick witted Bond is not his only forte, he is just as convincing as Donna's olf flame. "The winner takes it all" part was the best in the movie, I think. This song has always had a soft spot with the baby boomers generation. ABBA was one of the symbols of those disco crazy days. I love the movie, no matter how some people may think of it as cheesy.

face of anger

I've seen a lot of angry people. The range of physical manifestations include nasal flaring (take time and check in the mirror once you feel angry), stares that kill, teeth baring and the clenched fists. Physiologically, anger raises your blood pressure, increases the heart rate and lets out the adrenaline in your body. Imagine this substance doubling its pump and making you jumpy and ready for a fight.

In anger, the words I spew are kilometric and verbose and hurting. Of course, I mean them. My verbal attacks are calculated to pierce and slew. What makes me grounded again, though, is when I see myself in the mirror and see my adrenalin-charged demeanor and I promise myself to never again...never ever again show that ugly monstrosity that is anger. Leave it to Allah, I will say.

Do not teach your children never to be angry; teach them how to be angry. ~Lyman Abbott

Photo credits: deviantART

06 September 2008

do you really exist?

Why do people ignore other people? It is not as if you are too small to see...in fact you are too big and tall you can paint the whole sky. WikiAnswers gives us this 'answer'...

If you think about why people ignore one another, it basically comes down to this, the person being ignored is not worthy of your attention. Clearly, this creates a bit of a "better than thou" issue, and the person being ignored is usually unhappy that people think themselves better than him. An enlightened thing to do would be to discover why they're being ignored. However, because people are A. unenlightened and B. assured that questioning the person ignoring them is futile, they prefer to go on the offensive against the person who thinks themselves their better. In a sense, it's a matter of attracting attention, so that the problem may be resolved. Do keep in mind though that ignoring people is not only rude, but also ignorant to a degree. We only ignore people we consider useless to us. After all, no one ignores someone they consider helpful to their cause.

A li'l philosophy may help those having doubts on their existence. This one is from huge-entity.com...

If I didn't exist, then I wouldn't be able to attempt to prove anything, or even to think I existed in the first place.

Photo credits: deviantART

05 September 2008

mon amie la rose

When our lives are harried and speckled with moments of disappointments and what seem to be like unending lows and blows ..... then it is time to stop and smell/eat the roses. Or listen and soothe your senses with this.....aptly named "mon amie la rose"..... a song for my mom.....a song for me.


Mon amie la rose has this arabesque lilts and gasps in Natacha Atlas. This bombshell calls herself the "human Gaza Strip". I would not post it here...too provocative, not in Ramadhan, eh! Francoise's version is the safer one.

31 August 2008

ramadhan kareem

May everyone have peace and happiness.

29 August 2008


A Singapore tycoon pleaded guilty to illegally trying to procure a kidney for a tune of S$320,000. He will probably be punished with a three year sentence in jail but is too sick to be imprisoned.

Another Singaporean, a Chairman of a condominium estate was arrested for unlawfully gluing doors, mailboxes, keyholes of condos of residents.

A timber company in Sarawak thoughtlessly distributed packets of salt to Punan fire victims in Ulu Tatau, Central Sarawak.

Money can't buy happiness...or delicadeza.

27 August 2008

golf's language

Why should speaking in English be made mandatory for players in the LPGA (Ladies Professional Golfers Association)? Should they be required to speak Korean when they are in Korea? The English Rule, I think, is absurd, and smacks of r.....

25 August 2008

favourite things

Raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens...and the promise of this.

18 August 2008

loving animals

A passion that came late in life for me is one that pertains to animals. This came when Meeza as a toddler would swoon as she sees a cat crossing by and when it became obvious that she loved to linger in pet shops. I was curious and completely enamoured at how my little angel at the age of three would not sleep because a kitty was stuck in some hole in our old garage.

My own childhood differed in a sense that we were not attracted to cats and rabbits as much as our children, nephews and nieces are. Our idea of having pets was staring at lovebirds in small cages and waiting for those pecking moments to happen. And, I would not count those times when we had bats which to me looked like half bodied humans; and the baby python which we found dead after it was provided a rat for food. Apparently, the rat was more of the predator than the prey. We caught frogs and toads and in one attempt, my sister fell down a ditch and broke her arm.

Well, back to this passion found late in adulthood. Though I have never been served foie gras or seen one, I shudder at the thought of ducks being fed through tubes in their necks just for their much prized livers. I lament at the ugly deaths of those stray animals lost on our roads. This passion also comes with awareness of children's books portraying violence to animals. One book which has a deceptive book cover, shows animals being cruel to other animals. This is one part of the book:

Knock, Knock.
"Who's there?", bleated the goat.
"It's me.", said the donkey.
"Off with you, I'm a fighting goat. My two big horns will rip your coat!"

I suppose that teachers would unlikely explain the act of skinning a donkey. My old pre-teaching, pre-parenting self would gladly play with the semantics of it but Meeza would have despaired. The old adage - parenthood changes you - is for real!

15 August 2008


I see round-eyed Spaniards mocking the Chinese. I think it is juvenile, perjorative, and with our history of those Castillian wars, I say, very racist and imperialist!

11 August 2008

so lost without u

I have to admit that I like the hackneyed, the sonorous and the ancient Air Supply. If you can't be caught being enthusiastic with them ---get to this one!

And by the way, I like the ABBA too.

10 August 2008


The Warao Indians who live in the remote villages of Venezuela have been plagued with vampire bats that have gone into biting sprees. Thirty eight of the Warao Indians have died as of today. And this piece of news has rekindled my memories of scary tales spouted by tired babysitters -- one of them telling us siblings to sleep with steadfastness as she was going out for her dinner of bloody muck and will return as soon as dawn breaks. To compound my uneasiness, I find my brothers, the next day, playing with baby bats tied in strings. That was my childhood Twilight staple.

The much anticipated fourth book, Breaking Dawn has been released and I may be reading it next week. Below is the cold skinned vampire, Edward of the Twilight series which was made into a movie due to be shown by the end of this year. Edward Cullen is to be portrayed by Robert Pattinson. He looks much much better than our parents' Christopher Lee and our Tom Cruise, right?

30 July 2008

apology accepted?

For the first time in history, the Americans are making an official apology for their institution of slavery - one of the most malevolent acts of men ever. We'll hear about its repercussions in a day or two or maybe hours from now. We must remember that slavery and its sub-forms, racism for one, did not only hold bondage the Africans but also Asians and other non-Caucasians who have immigrated to the country of milk and honey. Well, as simplistic as I may sound, they have come a long way to restitution to the point that an African-American may be elected president of the USA soon. Here is one that echoes my sentiments and it quotes a Filipino-American who was born in the States and grew up seeing the challenges of racism.

"And if Obama becomes president, it could become a much easier choice to make. Perhaps a choice that is even celebrated in a society with a painful history of rejecting those who are different -- but which is now evolving into a community where people with strange names, who come from strange lands and who speak strange languages are not just welcomed, accepted and embraced, they at times can even have the seat at the head of the table."

29 July 2008

loves of my life

This is the picture that makes my heart skip for a second. My treasured piece of memory of sheer joy is etched on these grains of colour and on those glorious half-smiles. Nothing else matches this.

26 July 2008

keeping in touch

My laptop is many times my refuge, solace, escape, my reservoir of information - and would you believe info about my own kin. Most days I am rummaging, googling for the how tos of life, examples of which are----how to ease your teen' s first heartbreak; how to get rid of drama queens and the pachydermal riders of your gravy train; how to lower your bp; how not to get old disgracefully, etc. And just an offshoot - a mom gave a Coach bag to her thirteener just as she was breaking off with her boyfrend. That little carrier surely eased her little heartache. Meeza would want a cat for her first heartbreak, she says. Okay, I'll remember that.

My other 'possession' is the Astro where at the moment, I see Old Mc Cain telling us for the umpteenth time how inexperienced Barack is in foreign affairs. Well, it would not budge a leaf or to that effect because people are not thinking about what to do with the Chinese for bullying the Tibetans but rather they are listening to the growling of their stomachs as they settle down for dinner that costs them more and mooning because they are half out of their wits with their mortgages, and the rising cost of living. Think domestic - that may win more votes.

20 July 2008

prankster mom

I had forgotten that Meeza never did appreciate the times when I became the prankster- mommy. Could be that she had a preconceived notion of what a mom should be - prim and proper. When Meeza was even less than a year old, she did not like it when I made faces. She bawled at the slightest change in facial demeanour and she detested clowns in birthday parties. Last night, in a moment of abandonment, I slipped on the green vege in my miso soup to my front teeth and gave the widest smile ever. While Aunty Cathy and Uncle Dennis rolled into tears and laughter, Meeza gave me the scolding. STOP IT, MOM! It was absolutely the Bruneian virtue of modesty lording over her. Sorry, darling, I have forgotten. Mommy will not do that again - for a day maybe?

to visit the queen

16 July 2008

15 July 2008


Oodles of money found......

12 July 2008

deja vu

This is the A380 that brought us back to our mundane lives. It was a nice holiday, really. We had the good luck to stay in a glorious flat just several feet away from Hyde Park. On the first morning, I woke up to the clippety-clop of the horses and...the familiar smell of manure that they heap in vengeance.

The A380 was cozy and the flying time was shorter than usual but long enough to allow me to watch "Atonement" twice, thrice...

wishes come true - bournemouth revisited

That was last year when we had this conversation. Bournemouth is what I imagined to be. The air was biting cold but it was sunny - enough to embolden young girls to don their bikinis.

06 July 2008

a tower raven

Ravens at the Tower of London have a lot of history - mostly ominous.

05 July 2008

in Oxford

We came from Paddington Station and arrived at Oxford to visit friends; ate scampis; heard stories about our friends' first visit to the Royal Ascot days before; and showed Meeza around in case she would want to go to an Oxford institution for studies. She seemed interested and I was quite pleased, I just had to cross my fingers.

22 June 2008

the brits showcase

We were on the River Thames Cruise. It's a cold summer. In a little while we were to see the dungeons of old, torture chambers and of course, the Crown Jewels.

08 June 2008

state of affairs

There are not many Sundays that you wake up to:
  • Hillary bowing out of the presidential race. It is a cause for sad feelings for people in the US of A expecting to see a woman president in their lifetime. The Kenyans from a distance are genuinely happy for their "son", though.
  • read that a young man had met his death in a car accident yesterday at dawn. Was he reckless?
  • see Stephanie giving Donna an ultimatum, "Give me back my husband and I'll give you your family back." And you are left thinking how Eric can be that irresistible. Eeew!!
  • watch Jolie's full lips on the TV screen as she berates Matt Damon for being the ever busy spy that he is. The Good Shepherd tells a boring story of the volatile early 60's and I reckon that they really wore lipstick that red. Those black and white photographs don't really tell the shade.
  • Oil per barrel has gone up to almost $140 and might reach $150 by July. Should I cancel the trip to Hua-Ho Manggis then and save my petrol or am I correct to think that we will never get a price increase in our gas because we produce it??? Talk about complacency.
  • feel that whatever bad news or bad shows there are, we got to hang on with dear lives and think about the blessings that the day may yet to bring.

17 May 2008

westlife's fool again

For people who are kept in the dark, and are fools for love there's a song on the sidebar. The melody is great, the lyrics haunting.

I share Meeza's and Nazeemah's (best of friends) fondness for Westlife's songs. They are twelve and thirteen, and quite retro. No rocking, no metals, please. They're listening to Manilow and Pomeranz! Do I see a sort of renaissance?

15 May 2008

top 100 movies

This list would certainly belong to a fifty year old.

Godfather, The (1972)
Shawshank Redemption, The (1994)
Godfather: Part II, The (1974)
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The (2003)
Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The (2002)
Schindler's List (1993)
Shichinin no samurai (1954)
Casablanca (1942)
Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The (2001)
Star Wars (1977)
Citizen Kane (1941)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
Dr. Strangelove (1964)
Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Rear Window (1954)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Usual Suspects, The (1995)
Memento (2000)
North by Northwest (1959)
12 Angry Men (1957)
Buono, il brutto, il cattivo, Il (1966)
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
Psycho (1960)
Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain, Le (2001)
Silence of the Lambs, The (1991)
It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
Goodfellas (1990)
American Beauty (1999)
Sunset Blvd. (1950)
Vertigo (1958)
Matrix, The (1999)
Cidade de Deus (2002)
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
C'era una volta il West (1968)
Apocalypse Now (1979)
Pianist, The (2002)
Third Man, The (1949)
Paths of Glory (1957)
Taxi Driver (1976)
Fight Club (1999)
Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi (2001)
Some Like It Hot (1959)
Double Indemnity (1944)
Boot, Das (1981)
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Singin' in the Rain (1952)
Chinatown (1974)
L.A. Confidential (1997)
Maltese Falcon, The (1941)
Requiem for a Dream (2000)
All About Eve (1950)
M (1931)
Bridge on the River Kwai, The (1957)
Se7en (1995)
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Rashômon (1950)
Raging Bull (1980)
Wizard of Oz, The (1939)
Alien (1979)
American History X (1998)
Sting, The (1973)
Léon (1994)
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
Manchurian Candidate, The (1962)
Vita è bella, La (1997)
Touch of Evil (1958)
Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The (1948)
Finding Nemo (2003)
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Great Escape, The (1963)
Modern Times (1936)
Clockwork Orange, A (1971)
Amadeus (1984)
On the Waterfront (1954)
Ran (1985)
Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
Annie Hall (1977)
Wo hu cang long (2000)
Jaws (1975)
Apartment, The (1960)
Braveheart (1995)
High Noon (1952)
Aliens (1986)
Fargo (1996)
Strangers on a Train (1951)
Shining, The (1980)
Metropolis (1927)
Blade Runner (1982)
Sixth Sense, The (1999)
City Lights (1931)
Donnie Darko (2001)
Duck Soup (1933)
Great Dictator, The (1940)
General, The (1927)
Sjunde inseglet, Det (1957)
Princess Bride, The (1987)
Dogville (2003)

10 May 2008

the last 100 days

Our lives have gone on like the minute hands in our clocks. There's no stopping and pausing. My poignant wish was to take a time out and take stock of our lives and what we have been doing. I was being my thoughtful self - sort of looking in from the outside. Then, I realized there is a way to evaluate our lives. I would devise a summary of our lives every 100 days. So here it is for the last 100 days:

- led our lives with wry wit and humour
- ignored the Joneses
- confronted the unknown and the uncertainties
- wrote
- travelled some highways
- prayed and bared our souls
- wished for the stars
- came out of our shells
- broke out from our prisons
- did balancing acts
- fought for our rights
- cared for pets
- ate well
- rediscovered happiness in giving
- loved our parents, siblings, children and each other

Did you pause to think about your last 100 days?

04 May 2008

hurtle turtle

As a child, I was smitten by turtles. However, I could not keep them as pets because of some myths that have in some ways creeped into my childhood. Old folks say that in captivity, they give bad luck. They crawl out and hurtle to a way out of man-made bondages and take their revenge. In the old days, when children got sick, the folk healers would direct family members to free the kept turtles. I've seen several incidents of turtles bringing bad luck and just last week a hurtle turtle caused a head injury that required seven stitches.

Did you know that turtles are bestowed divinity in some places? The Chinese believe that turtles are sacred because they carry the burdens of the world on their backs. The Hindus revere them. No turtles for pets. You can save them too by leaving them in their own habitats.

for a cause

It used to be that breast cancer was a non-issue in our young lives; we did not really hear of anybody having breast cancer. It's totally different now; breast cancer strikes women we know; women we care for. Having a mammogram (no matter how painful it maybe)now and then may save our lives. The earlier the cancer, the better the prognosis.

Early today, I joined hundreds of other women in the Walk for Breast Cancer. It was fun camaraderie. We started with some warm-up exercises that included belly-hip jiggling that got us wolf-whistling. A Filipino fitness guy led us on this one (Pinoy talaga!). Who said, we in Brunei are repressed?! Then, more fun - we walked the whole of the stadium premises.

A day well spent - a day for a cause - for camaraderie and awareness - a time to celebrate the survivors of this dreaded disease.

03 May 2008

to catch a fish

Our new bubu - someday may be able to catch some tilapia.

Our old bubu. We kinda miss our old bubu shown on the left of Meeza.

02 May 2008

at home

The early morning sunlight that streams through the windows makes a perfect Friday. For brunch, cucur udang with kuah satay. Savour the comfort. Think languor.

29 April 2008

riding the gravy train

Today, I learned a metaphor that would explain the leechi-ness and glue-like characteristics of some people. I am talking about pachyderms who go for free rides at the expense of others. Riding the gravy train is very much akin to parasitism plus insensitivity.

"To ride the gravy train" means to secure an ongoing situation that provides good pay or other benefits with little labor or trouble, the equivalent of "living on Easy Street." It may be that the phrase originated among hoboes and other vagabonds who hopped trains as a way of life and for whom "gravy train" would be a likely metaphor for an easy existence.

Just as in avoiding the drama queens, there is a way to rebuff these unwanted free-riders of the universe. Don't give them a hoot. Deworm your life. Watch your money like a hawk:).

25 April 2008


Jenna Bush, teacher, first daughter and soon to be young wife, will not necessarily vote Republican. That's brilliant news. It would mean she's beyond partisanship and may not really go for the traditional, conservative elements in her country. Wow. Go, Jenna, Go.

In Brunei, we have been exercising suffrage - voting for the best blog. May the best blog win - and do vote, putting emphasis on blog's content and message and not the personalities.

21 April 2008

draw for me

I've always kept Meeza's art work. This piece of work was done about a year ago. Meeza and I love to sketch but her work has more depth.

20 April 2008

meme3 - unconscious mutterings

What comes to your mind with these words?
  1. Questioning ::

  2. Immunity ::

  3. Online dating ::

  4. Calcium ::

  5. Dressing ::

  6. Bucket ::

  7. Stain ::

  8. Advanced ::

  9. Dramatic ::

  10. Self-medication ::

Mine would be:
-excused from taxes, lawsuits, bad health
-internet smooching
-milk, bones
-way ahead
-over-the-counter painkillers

Please remember to use http://subliminal.lunanina.com when linking to Unconscious Mutterings.

16 April 2008


If I am to believe the news, then we are on the way to a global food crisis. Food is getting scarce in countries like India and Egypt. It is such a sensitive issue that food protests have been present in countries like Indonesia and Haiti. Of course, the deepening rice crisis even in rice-producing countries as the Philippines has got us worried for family and friends. The difficulties are not only felt in these countries but also in some developed countries as in Great Britain. Brunei is at the moment spared of these troubles because of the subsidies on staple food especially rice.

A large percentage of household incomes goes to food purchase. So, if and when we experience the high cost of eating – time to be austere. Don’t waste food. Do all the right things – grow fruits and veges if possible; try preservation – they go a long way.

09 April 2008


Today, I called in sick (sms-ed actually). I have a feeling I caught the bug when I went to buy headscarves the other day and the shop attendant was having the snifles. The bug could have travelled to headscarves -----> my hands -----> my face -----> my nostrils -----> my sinuses. Eeeew! I hate the watery smuck. Got to prepare my armaments: loads of tissue, lots of water, Logicin day and night tabs. And books to read and re-read - my dependables - my rescuers out of a day of fuzziness and tissue overload. Being sick for a day (I hope just one day) is one of abandonment - of forgetting the demands of everyday living and those endless compromises.

05 April 2008

what's in a name?

A name is everything. It is something bestowed on you by your parents with love and expectations; it is something that you would have to live with all your life; and in some instances, it is something that you have to defend as you would do with your honour. Hercules sought out to defend his good name when his half-brother stole his name/identity. We know of celebrities who named their children strange-sounding names (to most American ears). Shiloh and Suri are not really odd names when you are Asian or African. Barack Obama was called Barry in his younger days, for convenience, I suppose. His is a name that incites curiosity and perhaps a name that would make a grand story.

Seriously, my parents have thought of names like Bradley, Khayyam, Patton to give my younger brothers. Their choices show what kind of persons they are - romantic, movie-going, hero-worshipping, and in my father's case - sort of militaristic (Patton???). Ultimately, my brothers were given names of Omar Shariff (as in Hollywood's Dr Zhivago), Khadafi (as in the Libyan anti-west leader)- luckily, no one was called Bradley or Patton, then they would have to live up to their names' expectations - being in the generals' boots.

02 April 2008

Like in Kuala Lumpur and in most of Singapore, no Bruneian who goes to Kuching will ever doubt the halal-ness of the food he/she eats. Kuching is one of my favourite cities because, other things aside, it has an Italian restaurant (at the Merdeka Palace Hotel) that has a buffet of pastas and pestos and unbelievably halal at that!

The nasi lemak, of course, is staple food.

In-room dining at the Holiday Inn has these comfort-food:

Nasi Lemak with accouterments including a leaf-wrapped otak-otak

All too familiar - Roti Canai! The roti was light and airy - not the greasy type.

30 March 2008

These are welcoming figures before entering the Damai Hotel and Spa. Very peculiar and very indigenous. They give the Hotel cum Spa a certain ambience, maybe Balinese or Iban, I am not sure, though.

29 March 2008

a study in contrast

Well, we did not come across crocodiles, but we did see the contrast between a quaint little village and a symbol of affluence along the riverside of Kuching which is a lot to learn in one cruise.

28 March 2008

cat city

Our holiday in Kuching, Sarawak is slowly winding down. We've yet to do the River Cruise tonight and I hope it's worth our time. I've been to river cruises before (Subic, Basilan Straits, Kg Ayer, Jolo, Bangkok, Pattaya, Penang, Hong Kong, Laguna Bay, Corregidor, Batangas, etc.) and I love them. I could easily spot the kinds of flora and fauna that inhabit the riversides - I remember glimpses of a croc head and a slithering snake among the mangroves. Hope to point them to Meeza if I get to see them again.

19 March 2008

Barack's "a part of me"

Barack Obama's "a part of me" speech was something that we, who watch American politics, may never forget for a long time. It hits the nerve of racial divide and points to the anger and marginalizations in American society. I feel for him and I do not think that the speech will destroy him. It is something that must come out in the open, and for people to resolve all forms of racial conflicts in societies.

09 March 2008

khaled hosseini's the kite runner

I have finished reading this book and though, the ending is quite happy, I am still left with a haunting feeling. The characters are unforgettable, the scenery (pre-Russian occupation and pre-Taliban) evokes childhood nostalgia (kite running was our passion too), and the story - sad and sentimental. The political transformations of Afghanistan are shown to be affecting the lives of its people and amidst the turmoil, little stories of families, of parents and children, of friendships, loyalty, betrayals and cruelty are told in this book.

The main story is about two boys, Amir and Hassan who are very good friends at the start. The story grows into a complicated web when Hassan (the Hazara child and the one who runs for the fallen kites) is harmed and Amir is unable to save him. We know that Hassan would unhesitatingly defend his friend anytime but it can not be said of Amir - who was the pampered one. I disliked the child rape event but was quite comforted by the characters being fictional. You would not want a dear child like Hassan (or Sohrab or any child) be forever victims of people's travesty and inhumanity. Soon, Amir would find a way to totally forget Hassan and his own helplessness by planting evidence that would incriminate Hassan. But, as in some wounds, there is no healing and no escape. The ghost of Hassan (pure, heroic and forgiving) comes at varied times and beckons - because after all, Hassan is Amir's own blood.

The Kite Runner is a story of a proud father (Baba) and his sons, of lords and servants, of an indiscretion (Baba's adultery with his best friend's wife) and a secret (Hassan is his illegitimate son). It tells of cowardice and also of bravery and redemption. At the end - and albeit, a little too late, Amir is able to redeem himself - by saving Hassan's son, Sohrab, from the clutches of torturers and rapists. In fiction as in real life, "there is a way to be good again".

07 March 2008

many things

Stork news: My niece just had a beautiful baby girl and that means I am a Grandma four times over now (will be five times a Grandma later this year). LOL, I really enjoy this added investiture. Remember, a woman is not only one thing.

06 March 2008

hard to understand

What happens next when the likes of Amy Winehouse is awarded and rewarded by society despite their drug use and addiction. Just what message does it give our children? Illegal drug use is never glamorous and will never be - considering the problems attached to it. A family is not the same again when drugs take over the life of even a single member. The United Nations should speak out with substance, now that it has realized the extent to which society condones double standards when dealing with who uses drugs.

04 March 2008

living with pink

Martha Stewart loves pink, I presume. Her guest house in Maine is all dolled up in pink. The dining room is splashed with a big painting in pink and her bathroom towels are all in pink. I couldn't imagine myself waking up in a pink bedroom 'coz it's too maddening and cloying and diabetic.

01 March 2008

can i afford it?

On most weekends, I'd grab a chance to watch the "Can I Afford It?" segment of the Suze Orman show on CNBC. I enjoy the show because of the tongue-lashing that she gives to callers - she is so "mataray" and raises her eyebrows so high, your guilt over overspending just oozes from your pores. I would mentally guess what her verdict would be by the look of her and would race with her pronouncements of DENIED!!! Denied - is what is always the case (nine out of ten). You can't be buying things when you have enormous mortgages, when you have credit card debts as high as a mountain or when your savings are zilch!

24 February 2008

real colour

This is my real colour - bursting yellow sunshine! I love this bedroom for its clean lines, the thoughtful arrangement of objects, simplicity, art and its potentials. The pic is from Martha Stewart and Lowes.

22 February 2008

rebel no more

One of the pluses of a good marriage, I think is the calming effect that it gives a couple. Most of the time, the both of you go on agreeing together on things that concern your children's welfare whatever the means and the methods. I used to put my foot down, protest with all my might, against traditions, superstitions and any folk-isms that may creep in our lives, e.g., the fatalistic "kapunan", etc. But, when you see the confident faces, the bravery, the sense that everything will work out well for the family, I can now and then, go along with the tide and get used to those pseudo-rituals. A good marriage works like a covenant. It mostly deals with peacemaking - and trust and faith on both sides.

19 February 2008

handsome toads gone extinct

Because of changes in world climate, notably warming, a lot of animals are in danger of becoming extinct and going with them, are the tales of old - the stuff that made childhood a magical place. In a forest in Costa Rica, the orange toad have not been seen since 1991 and is feared gone for good. In 1987, there were 1500 of them. It has been noted that the clouds over the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve have gone higher, drying up the toad's breeding places. Global warming is something that does not jolt you until when the consequences affect you - imagine that you were there when Katrina or the Tsunami happened. Also, it's kinda sad when our grandchildren can't tell the story of the toad that a princess kissed and went on to live happily ever after -- because they don't have a memory of a living toad.

11 February 2008

kindness of heart

There's not a day that I don't see something mangled and bloody on the roads of Brunei. It could have been a puppy looking for a sanctuary; or a kitten traversing the highways, lost and vulnerable. I don't blame the drivers for these accidents. But, I do lay the culpability on the owners for not keeping their pets safe. The kindness of hearts should be bestowed not only to people but to all the animals of the world especially to those that have lost their homes.

08 February 2008

Happy New Year (again)!

Much of the blood running through my veins (and arteries) I believe is Chinese 'coz I am descended from horse riding warriors of the Gobi Desert. So, for the third time in the Gregorian year and without much ado, I wished people a Happy New Year. As my mom would say, "it is always the thought that counts".

Somebody lined up these oranges as if contemplating which one to eat first.

05 February 2008

water babies

Meeza just loves the water. When we found that she was a water baby, we enrolled her at the age of five in the swimming scheme for children at the Stadium and subsequently found that she was a natural. She was also in the Swimming Team of her school until she got bored. Her birthday was spent in the pool (at the Empire's) and then kayaking at the beach nearby with closest friends who share her love for swimming.

30 January 2008


The newsbits that ran across my TV screen early this morning:
Wife laces curry with anti-freeze....
Police break up kidney snatching gang....

28 January 2008

an era that was

In the few hours after Suharto's passing there was an explosion of comments, praises, criticisms, and apologies on the late strongman. In my late teens, I would not have cared for what Suharto was doing or not doing, but because he was definitely one of the most debated and the topic of long exams in my freshman's "Politics and Governments of Southeast Asia", it was imperative that we studied him. It was a course that was a requirement for graduation even though you were an Art student and would not damn care about some turmoil in a neighboring country. I remember the hours of researching for his speeches and any material that would give us an idea of the realities of Indonesian politics in those days. Those days we did not have the internet; we only had the dusty nooks at the Archives section of the library we considered as sacred as the places of worship that I and classmates went to. In our young minds, we reckoned that Suharto like Marcos or any friend of the USA for that matter were evil despots.

Today, in my ripe age of 'discernment' I find myself slow to criticise the man who to many was the 'Father of Development'. In those days, the realities were different. There was the 'Cold War' and the password for longevity was 'deterrence' and only 'deterrence'. This era has passed and we in SEA have a totally different set of problems post 'Cold War'. And with this passing, we should pray for a peaceful Indonesia and for the rest of SEA.

27 January 2008

roti kosong

One of the challenges of aging is metabolic slow down. It means that no matter how less you eat, the weight never loses off. The renowned health institution, John Hopkins Medicine gives these tips:

To quicken metabolism - Eat more frequently. Does that mean we are at liberty to do midnight noshing? Does that mean we can sleep late ala ramadhan nights? Au contraire! John Hopkins says you must get enough sleep to bolster metabolic rate. Non-sleepers gain weight more than tight dreamers. Have enough sleep!! Don't eat after seven pm says Oprah and look at her, Ms Svelte.

John Hopkins also says, eat your breakfast. It quick starts metabolism after sleep. Skipping breakfast lets your body store energy in the form of fat. Eat lean meat. It gets you more mileage than eating carbs and fat. Move around a lot. Fidget if you must. One more tip: exercise frequently and do strength training. You build up muscles, you burn more calories. (Simply said than done, hee hee).

There is of course a warning: Don’t take supplements which tout weight loss (fact is they do but with side effects). They may contain caffeine and other stimulants. These are the things that may affect your heart rate (aside from caffeine): bitter orange, kola nut, coleus forskohlii, guarana, yerba mate, and yohimbine.

Of all the tips, the one that is most attractive is the 'eat frequently' part. For starters, roti kosong on a Sunday is just glorious!!